Access to the Arts

The Hanover Theatre is proud to play a significant role in giving back to the community.

A group of students enjoying a day at the hanover theater.

The story of The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts is the story of Worcester.

Giving Back to the Community That Supports Us

Former Mayor O’Brien was correct when he equated our story with that of our city.  Whether acting as the catalyst for the rebirth of downtown or supporting our mission of bringing the arts to Worcester, our theatre and community enhance each other.

As a world-class facility for local, national and even international performing artists, we bring the world to central Massachusetts. We’re supported by donations and efforts from our community, and in return, we serve as a center of culture, education and community. We know the transformative power the performing arts can have on our lives, and we’re so proud to bring it to our city.

Economic Impact

When The Hanover Theatre was restored in 2008, it did more than provide a stage for world-class artists: it acted as a catalyst for the rebirth of downtown Worcester, and, ultimately, central Massachusetts. We work together with our surrounding business community to support each other, and the economic effect of our partnerships serves as an inspiring example of the positive impact the performing arts can have on not just our community’s residents, but its economy as well.


Crossing the street.

Our Economic Impact, In Numbers

  • Over two million patrons from 350 cities and towns throughout Central Massachusetts and beyond
  • Over $13 million in economic impact to the city of Worcester*
  • Over $900,000 spent annually to help promote Worcester as a cultural destination
  • Over 140 world-class shows and performances annually
  • Over 8,000 members, subscribers and donors
  • Partnerships with over 30 local restaurants and hotels

*Source: New England Foundation for the Arts, culturecount

kids giving thumbs up next to teachers.

Community Impact

  • Donate more than 1,500 complimentary tickets for underserved families annually
  • Partner with Arts Worcester to showcase local artists’ works in the Franklin Square Salon
  • Work with other nonprofit groups to host successful fundraising efforts
  • Enhance spaces near the theatre through the Volunteer Beautification Program
  • Donate tickets to nonprofit fundraising efforts (valued at $20,000)
  • Host civic events and ceremonies, including a simulcast of the Presidential Inauguration, Firefighter of the Year ceremony, State Swearing-In ceremony, college commencements and more
  • Subsidize tickets for student matinees serving 16,000 kids each year (valued at $26,000)
  • Participate in the Worcester Windows initiative
  • Partner with W.I.S.E. Program (Worcester Institute for Senior Education)

Engagement Programs: For Our Youth 

Adopt-A-School Program

Access to the performing arts for our youth is now more important than ever. We partner with the Worcester Public Schools to collaborate with school administrators and teachers on a curriculum-based arts integration program to help expose thousands of students to their first live theatrical performance. Over a period of three weeks, students from two high schools participate in lessons within every subject that incorporate a Broadway musical’s themes, historical and sociological elements, artistic aspects and musical score. The entire student body then attends the show together for free and interacts with the cast in a multitude of ways before, during and after the production. This program is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The McDonough Foundation, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Lamoureux Pagano Associates and The 200 Foundation.

Learn more about our Adopt-A-School Program.

Conservatory Scholarships

Providing access to the arts means more than exposing our youth to the performing arts through attending a performance: it also includes giving them the opportunity to pursue arts education. The Hanover Theatre Conservatory awards over $50,000 in scholarships each year for conservatory classes and youth summer programs. Scholarship awards are application-based and determined by financial need.

Learn more about our Scholarships.

Goddard Scholars Program

There’s no age too young to introduce our community to the enrichment of the performing arts.  Each year, we provide a lecture and workshop series for gifted and talented middle schoolers at Sullivan Middle School.  Annually, each 6th, 7th and 8th grade group attends a workshop and event at the theatre.

LEAP (Learning through Education and Arts Partnerships)

We partner with Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester Education Development Foundation to bring two entire grades (11th and 12th) to the theatre for performances. Both events are tied directly to core curriculum, and in-school workshops are offered by Hanover Theatre Conservatory teaching artists in order to prepare students for the experience. This program is funded in part by the Worcester Education Development Foundation, Worcester Public Schools, Worcester Cultural Coalition, George I. Alden Trust and The Stoddard Charitable Trust.

Motivational Speakers Program

The performing arts do more than entertain, they ignite creativity and encourage inspiration: two things that students benefit from when infused into their regular schooling. This annual event with Worcester Technical High School allows the entire school population to attend an engaging motivational speaker presentation intended to motivate and focus students during their spring standardized testing season. This program is funded in part by The Hermann Foundation.

Student Matinee Series

Annually, over 16,000 students experience live theatre through subsidized tickets at our student matinees. Each year, we work to provide options for all students, grades K-12. In addition to the live performance, schools are typically offered educational resource guides and additional pre- and post-show experiences to enrich their experience. We also work with Title I schools in the area to ensure all students receive access to the performing arts, regardless of their ability to pay.

Learn more about our student matinees.

Partners in Education Program

In 2017, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. selected The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory to participate in the prestigious Partners in Education Program alongside Worcester Public Schools. In 2019, under the Kennedy Center’s guidance, the theatre started facilitating professional development workshops for Worcester Public Schools teachers, providing hands-on training for arts-integrated learning. The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory is the only organization in Massachusetts chosen to participate in this program.


The WYSH (Worcester Youth Speak Honestly) Project is a year-long program that includes creating an original piece of theatre based on their life experiences, a tour of the show to Worcester Public High Schools, a scholarship to take classes in the conservatory and regular meet-ups throughout the year to see Broadway and others show at The Hanover Theatre. This program is designed to give participants a public platform where they get a chance to speak their truths. WYSH is designed to offer young people a transformative experience that fosters leadership, creative agency, an experience of community and belonging through the arts, and an understanding that there is a place for their stories and their unique voices.

This program is funded in part by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency.

Engagement Programs: For Our Whole Community

Accessible Performances

The joy and impact of the performing arts are for everyone: which is why we are pleased to offer ASL interpretation at a select number of performances, generously sponsored by FLEXcon. A limited number of audio-described performances are also offered. In addition, The Hanover Theatre hosts a relaxed, sensory-friendly performance of A Christmas Carol every other year for individuals and families impacted by autism.

Learn more about our commitment to accessibility.

Community Fundraising Assistance

The Hanover Theatre is proud to provide opportunities for community and educational enrichment through our Community Fundraising Assistance Program, which supports the efforts of nonprofit organizations by donating a limited number of tickets to performances at our theatre. Requests that meet our guidelines and are granted will receive two tickets to a performance based on availability.

If you would like your organization to be considered for a ticket donation, please visit us on Donation Match. No phone calls, please.

Creative Movement for Adults with Disabilities

An exciting new project started in 2019 is a dance collaboration with the Seven Hills Foundation Aspire Program in Worcester. The Aspire program was developed to better support individuals with disabilities and other significant life challenges. Our Creative Movement class provides three groups with weekly one-hour classes that are fun and interactive, introduce dance movements and rhythm to increase physical awareness and activity and enhance a supportive environment that increases self-esteem. The groups consist of an all-female class, all-male class and coed class of individuals with extensive mobility impairments. This program is funded in part by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

Access to the Arts

Serving as the source of funding for many of our programs, our Access to the Arts reflects our commitment to and belief in the importance of ensuring that the performing arts are accessible to everyone in our community.

Support Access to the Arts

The Hanover Theatre provides an important cultural resource and economic impact to our community. Make a difference through the performing arts today!

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